Muslim tribalism means they'll never do democracy

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"Muslims aren't capable of a successful democracy". People said the same thing about democracy in America or Europe before is succeeded there too.

I think the elections proved the myopia of those saying that you can't do Democracy in the Middle East. The truth is Turkey, many Asian muslim nations, and now Afghanistan and Iraq are now democracies, with some thanks belonging to the U.S. and our policies. People that said it would never succeed said the same things about Russians, Asians, Africans and others.

That being said it isn't sure thing yet either.

Other forms of democracy might not be exactly like ours, but that's the cost of self-rule; we’re fine with that. We didn’t start as a democratic utopia either; we started saying “white land-owners could vote”, and it took 150 years to give non-land- owners, blacks and women the right to vote. So even if the Muslims aren’t quite where the west is today, that’s alright, we can keep our fingers crossed that they’ll get there.

The facts are that more Iraqi's turned out to vote than do in the U.S. or much of Europe, despite the Iraqi's having to face longer lines, terrorists, having to walk miles and risk their lives. So they seem to get democracy good enough.

To all those that have criticized the U.S. and our motives in Iraq, tell it to the Iraqi's that voted that they would have been better off under Saddam. We don’t want a puppet state like most of our detractors have tried to create, or our detractors claimed we'd setup. So those that criticized our motives might want to avoid mirrors, or even be mature and reflect on what we’re actually doing (or what they were advocating), and not what they’ve been saying we’re doing.

But there is a dark side. A democracy is only as good as the culture. 3 wolves and a sheep voting on who is for dinner, is not going to be a successful democracy (from the sheep's point of view). The real debate isn't whether Muslims can do democracy: obviously they can. It's whether middle-eastern culture can give up its tribalism.

If they vote just so one group can tyrannize the others, and tell them what to do (like European or American progressives), then that will lead to resentment, and possibly the failure of the government completely. If they all tolerate corruption, and voting just changes who benefits, then they'll be like some Central/South American and African Countries -- they fail not because of the form of government, but because of the culture's values (tolerance towards corruption).


So as they say, "with great power, comes great responsibility". Americans sacrificed our lives, once again, to give Iraq and the Middle East a chance at more power. Whether they will live up to their responsibilities is up to them. Either way. we gave them a chance, and it was the only chance at freedom in their country that most of them will ever have n their lifetimes. So whether you're for or against the war, we tried to do good. Whether it ends good, is up to them.

Written 2005.08.04

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